How to Help a Friend in Need

We all have that friend: every setback they have, no matter how minuscule, is a big deal in their world. They stretch the truth so much to the point where even they know they sound ridiculous. You feel bad for them because they seem stressed and overwhelmed, even if whatever they are complaining about may be silly in your mind. You want to help make them smile and stop worrying, even for just a few seconds. “Life goes on.” “There are much bigger problems in the world.” Unfortunately you can’t just say these things without getting getting the what-are-you-talking-about glance. So how do you help them?

Over the summer, my mother suggested a book to me by the title The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Check it out if you haven’t already, it’s a fantastic read in my opinion. The book isn’t for those who are essentially unhappy, but just for those who want to milk all the happiness they can out of their lives. 

There is a section in the book that talks about how the author was able to sympathize with her children much more easily from a few simple steps. While helping your 2-year-old child is much different from helping your 20-year-old best friend, there is one strategy that I think can be used effectively. That strategy is simply to show them that you understand the pain they are going through and to let them know that you will always be there for them.

The book suggests to simply repeat whatever the person said in simpler terms as a way of showing that you understand. For example, if your friend just broke up with her boyfriend because he cheated on her with her best friend, then you could say “You feel betrayed by everyone right now.” This obviously is an exaggeration, along with the story your friend probably described to you; she hasn’t been betrayed by everyone. This helps to show them that you understand their situation though. 

After that, think before you say anything else. Actually, sometimes it’s best not to say anything at all and to just listen. Silence can be awkward, but also necessary for thoughts to fully develop. If you rush the person you are helping, they could get carried away with the words coming out of their mouth. But some time to think (and let them speak when they are ready!) can make all the difference. Finally, it’s important to end the conversation by assuring your friend that they have someone they can rely on at any time of day. Not even using a crutch, but just knowing that you have one in case you need him or her, can be extremely comforting.

 

Friendship is a beautiful thing, and it can be difficult to take care of sometimes. I hope this post was helpful to those going through a tough time or helping someone else through a tough time. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, don’t hesitate to leave them for me below. Everyone have a wonderful Friday!! 🙂

That Awkward Texting Situation

So I’ve been in this situation multiple times. I’m texting someone and I want to know if they want to hang out or not. I don’t want to put them in that awkward situation where they are forced to hang out with me, but I really am curious if they are free or not. So what do I text them? I can’t ask “Can I come over?” or “Are you free?” or really anything that can be responded with “Sure.” The most ambiguous answer you can ever receive via text is “sure,” because it isn’t a yes and it isn’t a no. 

Therefore, the perfect question to ask is “Are you planning on just relaxing alone tonight?” Then the answer HAS to be either yes or no. Boom. Problem solved. You’re welcome.

How to Calm Down, Relax, and Just Breathe

Life can be stressful sometimes, I should know as a college student trying to figure out my life. The world feels like it’s always moving, never stopping. When one deadline ends it seems as though another one magically appears. A constant cycle of doing but never feeling like anything is actually getting done.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming. The stress to do well in school or at work, to financially support yourself, to spend time with those you love when all you can think about is how late you are going to be up tonight doing homework or writing a proposal. One thing after another can start building up, creating a mountain of thoughts floating through your brain, things that need to get done before their deadline hits. Emotion rise, tension builds, until it bursts like a volcano, overflowing at the brim. Tears come out and there is no way to stop them. You feel weak, hopeless, not good enough. You crumble to pieces.

Life isn’t easy, no one ever said it would be. That is why I think everyone needs an outlet or a source that they can go to and know that everything is alright. Some people need to vent to feel better. You feel lighter after releasing all the stress that has been been kept inside of you. Some people need a good cry to let it all out. There’s nothing wrong with that, even guys need to cry. Some resort to a more physical source, maybe yoga or running. Whatever it is, I feel it needs to be personal, more often than not alone, and it needs to be true to you. Just because a certain method works for someone else doesn’t make it right for you.

Personally, I like to resort to music.

I’ve discovered a lot about myself these past few months. I am a better person now because of everything, but it was a long, stressful, mentally and physically straining process. But what has gotten me through it all is relaxing music. Being able to take 5 minutes out of my day and listen to a smooth instrumental piece, feeling the melodies and sounds flowing over my body, relaxing my breathing and heart rate. 

I would like to share with you one piece in particular that has been a big help in feeling less stressed. It is titled So It Goes, by Greg Haines. It can be found on YouTube, or at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKCf4Y4Y8IU

If you ever need help or feel lost, I am there for you. Give this song a listen, it helped me and I can only hope to pass on what I have discovered to someone else. 

Why do College Kids Drink So FREAKIN Much???

A little back story: here at Penn State we have a weekend known as State Patties Weekend (opposed to Saint Patties Day, cleaver huh?). It was created a while ago because originally Saint Patrick’s Day was not during Spring Break and was a fairly large drinking holiday. But one day, the big bad University moved Spring Break so that it fell when Saint Patrick’s Day did as well, make the holiday no more. So in retaliation, the students essentially moved Saint Patrick’s Day to a weekend when we were in school, renamed it, and continued on their merry way.

This past weekend was State Patties Weekend… Lucky for me I wasn’t home for a good bit of it, but my roommates reported the obscene events that happened when I returned. The police were on our floor busting people and parties, the elevator was littered with more beer cans than usual, and vandalism, drunken harassment, fights, and other illegal activities were happening left and right.

So my question is this: Why does it have to be like this? Why is getting drunk such a big deal? And why should the community suffer for the actions of a few idiot? Personally I think the past has been the biggest influence on setting the trends for years to come. But those future trends need to be stopped soon or something serious might come about. 

If you are in college or will be going to college soon, all I can say is this. Please don’t start drinking as a pastime. It can be fun when it is with good friends or in a certain environment, but don’t become a public humiliation. But when it becomes a weekly activity, on school nights or before special events, then it has gone too far. Please drink responsibly as well. The actions you make in college CAN stay with you for the rest of your life. Just take these words to heart for a second and don’t say I didn’t warn you!